The announcement of seven American bases in Colombia have resurrected old ghosts from the past about US involvement in Latin America.
After a long silence and during a meeting with students Cuba’s Fidel Castro re-discovered his revolutionary spirit in defending his friend Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. He said: “We are not free, where is the sovereignty of Venezuela and the Cuban Republics. It’s been trampled ..it’s been occupied and we can demonstrate this.” But the progression of the left in Latin America has redrawn the political map of the region. Colombia remains today Washington’s only ally in the region and all US military resources are based in Colombia. Spiralling military costs in Latin America amount to 36 billion euros – that’s a fifty per cent increase in 10 years. Overall military expenditure in the region has increased by 50 per cent with Colombia and Venezuela, behind Brazil. Militarisation in Venezuela is an especially important policy of Hugo Chavez as he follows his “Cubanisation” plan. And earlier this month Chavez went on TV to declare Venezeula was freezing diplomatic relations with Colombia. Chavez said: “It is necessary to prepare for breaking off relations.This is going to happen. Those seven Yankee bases – they are has declaration off war against the Bolivarian revolution and so we assumes it is a declaration of war.” Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe has also found he can make political capital out of confrontational speeches. He didn’t hold back from accusing Venezuela of selling weapons to Marxist rebels. He said anti rocket launchers found in FARC rebel camps had come from Venezuela. He believes this kind of talk that can get him re-elected. Officially the American bases are part of Washington’s fight against drug trafficking and terrorism. One Colombian senator says there is more going on. Manual Juan Galan said: “Given the reality off the current political and foreign situation, Colombia needs to have the the resources for a credible defence force in the event of an armed conflict. Every sovereign state has to have this.” Colombia’s diplomatic spat with Venezuela took a new turn in Bogata with a series of billboards showing Chavez with his eyes closed. They call on him to: “open his eyes